13abc Salutes Black History Month: Jim Parker - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

13abc Salutes Black History Month: Jim Parker

Posted: Updated:

Many consider him to be the greatest lineman to ever play pro-football, but many don't know the story behind "Big Jim Parker"   His story is just one of the many featured at the African American Legacy Project of Northwest Ohio.

Jim Parker was born in 1934 in Macon, Georgia. He was one of 6 kids.  When Parker turned 18, He hitch hiked to Toledo. Robert Smith from the African American Legacy Project tells 13ABC,  "they were supplementing a family on 28 dollars combining work from 2 kids...so parker struck out on his own to find new ground and territory." 

Parker enrolled in Scott High school. Although his first love was basketball, his skill in football would ultimately change his life.  One day while working as a valet, He had an encounter with a young Ohio State Coach by the name of Woody Hayes.

Smith tells 13abc,  "The owner of Babcock dairy pointed to Woody Hayes and said "Hey there's the best football player in Toledo" and they got together.  Parker would become the first African American to stay in a dorm at The Ohio State University.  

From 1954 through 1956 Parker played on both offensive and defensive lines. Parker known for his size, strength, and quickness used his talents for clearing a path for running backs. Parker would help Hayes win his first national championship in 1954 and in 1956 Parker won the Outland Trophy.

Smith tells 13ABC,  "Woody Hayes had stopped him one day and said are you better today than you were yesterday?...Parker said no and so Hayes made him run laps ... and Parker said that stuck...so what he did in his life ...is learn how to move yourself forward each and every day." 

In 1957 Parker was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the NFL draft. Parker would receive many accolades for his skill on the field. In 1973 Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Parker credits Toledo in turning his life around and making his football career a success. Big Jim Parker died in 2005.

The African American Legacy Project is located on Upton Avenue.  If you'd like donate to the AALP or book a tour call 419-720-4369.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Vigil planned for 4 boaters lost on fishing trip

    Vigil planned for 4 boaters lost on fishing trip

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:11:33 GMT
    Friends and family are gathering to remember four people who went on a fishing trip and never returned. Amy Santus, 33, and her niece, Paige Widmer, 16, were found dead last week. Bryan Huff and Andrew Rose are still missing. Friends and family will hold a vigil at Turtle Point Marina this Friday in their honor.
    Friends and family are gathering to remember four people who went on a fishing trip and never returned. Amy Santus, 33, and her niece, Paige Widmer, 16, were found dead last week. Bryan Huff and Andrew Rose are still missing. Friends and family will hold a vigil at Turtle Point Marina this Friday in their honor.
  • French Ambassador visits NW Ohio

    French Ambassador visits NW Ohio

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:35:58 GMT
    French Ambassador to the United States, Francois Delattre and Congressman Bob Latta made their way around Northwest Ohio Wednesday, as part of a cultural and diplomatic visit to the area.First Findlay, then the Glass City."We, France, are among the leading foreign investors in Ohio and especially in northwest Ohio," Ambassador Delattre said.France and Ohio have a strong partnership, one Congressman Latta calls meaningful."It's very important, not just because of our cultural ties, but our eco...
    French Ambassador to the United States, Francois Delattre and Congressman Bob Latta made their way around Northwest Ohio Wednesday, as part of a cultural and diplomatic visit to the area.First Findlay, then the Glass City."We, France, are among the leading foreign investors in Ohio and especially in northwest Ohio," Ambassador Delattre said.France and Ohio have a strong partnership, one Congressman Latta calls meaningful."It's very important, not just because of our cultural ties, but our eco...
  • Rossford students get pre-prom reality check on drunk driving

    Rossford students get pre-prom reality check on drunk driving

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:01:54 GMT
    Rossford High School students got a reality check about the dangers of drinking and driving three days before their prom.
    Rossford High School students got a reality check about the dangers of drinking and driving three days before their prom.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • French Ambassador visits NW Ohio

    French Ambassador visits NW Ohio

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:35:58 GMT
    French Ambassador to the United States, Francois Delattre and Congressman Bob Latta made their way around Northwest Ohio Wednesday, as part of a cultural and diplomatic visit to the area.First Findlay, then the Glass City."We, France, are among the leading foreign investors in Ohio and especially in northwest Ohio," Ambassador Delattre said.France and Ohio have a strong partnership, one Congressman Latta calls meaningful."It's very important, not just because of our cultural ties, but our eco...
    French Ambassador to the United States, Francois Delattre and Congressman Bob Latta made their way around Northwest Ohio Wednesday, as part of a cultural and diplomatic visit to the area.First Findlay, then the Glass City."We, France, are among the leading foreign investors in Ohio and especially in northwest Ohio," Ambassador Delattre said.France and Ohio have a strong partnership, one Congressman Latta calls meaningful."It's very important, not just because of our cultural ties, but our eco...
  • Vigil planned for 4 boaters lost on fishing trip

    Vigil planned for 4 boaters lost on fishing trip

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:11:33 GMT
    Friends and family are gathering to remember four people who went on a fishing trip and never returned. Amy Santus, 33, and her niece, Paige Widmer, 16, were found dead last week. Bryan Huff and Andrew Rose are still missing. Friends and family will hold a vigil at Turtle Point Marina this Friday in their honor.
    Friends and family are gathering to remember four people who went on a fishing trip and never returned. Amy Santus, 33, and her niece, Paige Widmer, 16, were found dead last week. Bryan Huff and Andrew Rose are still missing. Friends and family will hold a vigil at Turtle Point Marina this Friday in their honor.
  • Rossford students get pre-prom reality check on drunk driving

    Rossford students get pre-prom reality check on drunk driving

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:01:54 GMT
    Rossford High School students got a reality check about the dangers of drinking and driving three days before their prom.
    Rossford High School students got a reality check about the dangers of drinking and driving three days before their prom.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!